While going through some boxes in the attic, I came across an aged and yellowed article from my old college newspaper. In the feature were pictures of five young women, myself included, who were up for voting for Homecoming Queen. Underneath my picture - the essence of a fresh-faced all American girl - was a list of all the organizations I belonged to and held leadership roles in. It was followed by the various honor societies I belonged to. I was even up for the award of College Woman of the Year.
One would think I had it all together...the picture perfect life. Actually, inside I was a massive ball of insecurities. I had bought into the lie that in order to be worthy, I had to earn it. My value as a person was based on other peoples' views of me. By my early thirties I had accumulated such a resume of achievements that I literally came apart at the seams.
Learning to insert the TRUTH where lies held sway for so long, became the truth that set me free.
Perfectionism, born out of insecurity, is a nasty, legalistic game.
But what about just wanting to do a job well I hear you asking? Doesn't God want us to give our very best in whatever it is that we do? Don't we all wish to hear some day, "Well done good and faithful servant"?
Yes, indeed. But what is my motivation? What is my starting point for wanting to do a good job? I do believe that I possess the spiritual gift of Administration, but I was using my gifts and talents - not to glorify God - but to satisfy some lacking sense of self worth. This is not God's desire for us.
There is a job well done and then there's perfectionism.
My theory is that behind every perfectionist is a false identity and given time, that false identity is bound to unravel.
So...how to break the grip of perfectionism??
Start at the beginning. What is it exactly that declares me worthy?
"Therefore, being declared righteous by faith (not works), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1)
Definitions for "Righteous" include words like: just, pure, holy
Truth be told, you can't get more perfect than being just, pure and holy.
Note the key point - that righteousness does not come from our own works, it comes through Christ and His death on the cross for me.
Christ is my Righteousness.
Jehovah Tsidkenu = Our righteousness.
Somewhere in the depths of my soul I knew this to be true, but the enemy and the world are so adept at selling you/me a bunch of lies that if we are not aware and armed with Truth, we are tempted to buy into them.
I love this quote I found in a recent post by Melissa Michaels: "To be a fully devoted follower of Christ, we have to be willing to surrender the preoccupation with our needs, our weakness, our agenda, and our own insecurities so we can remember our purpose to show love to the world and rest in our identity found in Christ."
Letting go of lies and taking hold of Truth can and does break the grip of perfectionism.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)
When the lies begin to creep in...and they will...I need to meditate on God's truth about me.
You shall know the Truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
I guess you could call me a "recovering perfectionist"...a member of "perfectionists anonymous". Hello, my name is Bev and I am a perfectionist.
We all have perfectionistic tendencies, but on a scale of 1 - 10, I'd say I used to be a 10.
Thankfully through scripture, trials, prayer, mentors, and yes, falling apart...I have learned to rest in my TRUE identity that can only be found in Christ. Anything else is a cheap imitation. I am a work in progress, but the Truth is traveling from "head knowledge" to being "heart knowledge". If God can do this for me, He can do this for you too!
Do you struggle with perfectionism to any degree? If so would you pray with me?
Lord, I thank you that you alone are my righteousness. I am not worthy because of anything that I have done, but solely because of what you have done which is dying on the cross for me. Enable me to know in my heart that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that you delight in me simply because I am Yours. Let me not settle for lies and imitations. Let me be set free by your Truth. In Jesus name, Amen.
In His love,
Welcome to the Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Club :)
ps. If you would like for me to pray specifically for you, please don't hesitate to contact me...be blessed!